‘No read, no write’ Tatay Pilo, now a Certified Organic Agriculture Practitioner in Marinduque

Success has two letters: Do!

“Doing” is what made Tatay Pilo a Certified Organic Agriculture Practitioner Farmer after passing the assessment and graduating in the AGREA Farm School. Congratulations, Tatay Pilo!

He has an interesting story. He used to work as a construction worker when we we’re building our vermicomposting facility from a New Zealand Embassy – Manila, Philippines Home Fund Grant. Every day, he was the first to arrive at work and was the last to go home. His hard work and dedication inspired us to offer him a job in AGREA farm after the construction of the facility.

CONQUERING THE ALPHABET. One letter at a time. Tatay Pilo, serious and busy practicing his writing skills.

Later on we found out that every time he received his salary, he just put a line on top of his name as his signature. We asked and he confessed that he had no schooling experience: “No Read, No Write”. Same with a number of rural folks who was not given any opportunity to go to school due to poverty.

One day, one of our team members, Helen Vallejos, who was in-charged of our social programs for farmers, brought him a pencil and a piece of paper. The AGREA office became his first school. At 50 years old, he learned how to write the alphabet, his name, and made a signature for himself.

Now, Tatay Pilo is our VIP, our Vermi Important Person. He has been producing all our organic fertilizer needs in the farm and he teaches other people too. He is now an expert in his field. Personally, I call him farmer-scientist.

When you visit the AGREA Vermicomposting Facility at the AGREA Farm Estate in Cawit, Boac, Marinduque, you’ll see Tatay Pilo with his radio there playing music from Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Back Street Boys, and all the top hits you can imagine. He now have complete social benefits like Social Security and PhilHealth, plus bonuses. And he also has a new Android phone and a Facebook account, too. Very connected! It’s now so easy to reach him. Maybe one day, don’t be shocked people, when he learns Agritech!

Tatay Pilo, thank you so much. People like you are an inspiration for our daily work. All smartly hustling to “do” remarkable work. Your AGREA family is always very proud of you as we inspire and change the lives of farmers to be better.


A VIP INDEED. Tatay Pilo poses with AGREA President and Founding Farmer Cherrie Atilano, TESDA Marinduque Provincial Director Rolando dela Torre, and other guests, during his Organic Agriculture Production NCII graduation. Tatay Pilo is a nationally-certified organic farming practitioner.

Indeed, we are in the business of cultivating human beings so they can cultivate the land in a more purposeful way.

This story was written by Cherrie Atilano and first published on Agreaph.com, “Tatay Pilo is our VIP, a Vermi Important Person.”

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Rafael Constantino R. Seño

Rafael Constantino R. Seño is a contributor at MNN. He is a youth leader, an events host and organizer in Marinduque, a graphics and branding designer, environmental advocate and Rapport & Communications Director at Agrea. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Communications at Marinduque State College.

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